Ben Thompson in an excellent long-form article on Airbnb, the tenets of community, the extension of trust between unknown parties and the role of the Internet.
In the pre-Airbnb days travelers and sublessors justifiably prioritized trust above all else. In other words, the implication of Airbnb building a platform of trust is not that a homestay is now more trustworthy than a hotel; rather, its that the trust advantage of a hotel has been neutralized, allowing homestays to compete on new vectors, including convenience, cost, and environmental factors. It turns out homestays are quite competitive indeed: to return to my personal anecdote, I am living in a beautiful, remodeled one bedroom apartment in one of the best neighborhoods in this city, and paying a fraction of the cost of a mid-tier hotel for the privilege.
Heres the kicker though: without Airbnb I wouldnt even be making this trip. Staying in a hotel would not only be too expensive, it would also deny me the opportunity to at least get a taste of what its like to live day-to-day in a different country and culture something you dont get at your typical branded hotel.